Print Friendly and PDF

Nursery design for enthusiasts of modern style used to be a challenge — they were lost in a sea of pink frills and baby duckies.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with pink frills and baby duckies — such things simply aren’t their jam.) ?

Today’s designers know how to use clean lines, bold color palettes, large-scale patterns and big graphic punches in playful and age-appropriate ways. Children’s books, travel, the solar system and the circus are just a few of the things parents are looking to for nursery inspiration.

Ombré mountains majesty

A photo taken on an Alaskan “babymoon” inspired this mural-covered room. At eight months pregnant, designer Rebecca Zajac and her husband, David, were ready to get as far away from the summer heat of Las Vegas as possible. On their subsequent trip to Alaska, she snapped a photo of the Denali mountain range that inspired this ombré mountain range wall mural. She painted it herself soon after they returned, and it was ready in time for their son’s arrival.


The top of the mural matches the ceiling, painted in Swiss Coffee OC-45, and the next row of mountains down is Nimbus 1465; both are by Benjamin Moore. She found all of the blues on one Behr paint swatch. From darkest to lightest, the paint colors are Smokey Blue 540F-5, Hale Gray 540F-4, Blue Box 540E-3 and Cloudy Day 540E-02. A mix of soft organic touches and warm woods completes the look.

Designed for a little bookworm

Books and letters inspired the design of the nursery that interior designer Elena Del Bucchia created for her baby. Reading is very important to her and her husband, Andrew, and both of their parents passed along the books they had read to them as children for the grandchild they were expecting. They display their favorites on picture rails, bringing bright colors and bold graphics into the room.

Like a newspaper, the room is black and white and re[a]d all over. One main exemption is the colorful chair, which stands out even more with this backdrop. A vintage dresser painted black and an Eames Hang-It-All add midcentury modern touches, while a black-and-white rug adds a large-scale pattern underfoot.

Midcentury crib in Natural: DwellStudio; alphabet print: Olunda series, Ikea; mobile: Vancouver Special

Inspired by the Milky Way

Interior designer SuzAnn Kletzien helped these parents incorporate the solar system theme they wanted into this nursery in a way that would grow up with their son. By using dot decals instead of stars, she gave the room a playful yet sophisticated aesthetic.

To tie in with the theme, she created a gallery wall of vintage starry sky prints. Wood frames that match the dresser drawer panels below give the vignette a clean, cohesive look.
Dresser: Patchwork, West Elm; crib: Sparrow, Oeuf; decals: Lottie Dots, Land of Nod; rug: Jonathan Adler; rocker: Empire, Masins; ottoman: Target; table: Martini, West Elm

Full of felt

Architect Chris Grimley and designer Kelly Smith had already designed their Boston condo to be a crisp modern space, with bright color punctuating a backdrop of white walls, floors and ceilings, when they found out they were expecting.

Smith is a cofounder of FilzFelt, a company that specializes in felt wall coverings and floor products, and she used the material to create an impactful design on the wall. Each triangle is attached to the wall with an adhesive that allows for repositioning, so they can change up the look. Another bonus is that the felt helps to absorb sound so they don’t have to worry about waking up their daughter while talking and scuttling about the apartment.

Table and chairs: Jens Risom for Knoll

A playful, offbeat mix

This couple have rarely met bright colors and graphic patterns they haven’t loved, and they needed interior designer Karen B. Wolf to help them pull everything together in a cohesive way. She advised them to create a focal point, ground the room with a neutral color, mix patterns with varying scales and repeat accent colors at least three times around the room. Most important, she advised them to have fun with it.

On the walls she combined a black-and-white half-moon-patterned wallpaper and a textured wallcovering inspired by old jeans. Overhead, stripes pick up on the colors of the Roman shade fabric, which are repeated around the room as well. For example, the bold yellow on the lampshade trim and throw blanket punch up the black-and-white dresser vignette.

Paint: Blue Spa, Laguna Yellow and Gray Owl, all by Benjamin Moore; wallcoverings: Half Moon by Ferm Living and Jean Jeannie by Jim Thompson Fabrics; Roman shade fabric: Brushed Dot Peacock, DwellStudio for Robert Allen; Harlow crib: Babyletto, AllModern; rug: Heaven, Surya; sheepskin: Ikea; Possini chrome ceiling light: Euro Style Lighting; prints over crib: West Elm; dresser: custom by The Papaya Tree, Etsy, painted in Peppercorn by Sherwin-Williams; lamps: Target; mirror: Lazy Susan; Marley Lemon throw: Crate & Barrel

Elephants under the sun

Sunny stripes were a part of this Brooklyn, New York, nursery as well, and for interior designers Jessica Geller and Virginia Toledo, that bold ceiling was a must-have. Their clients had already selected the animal-print wallpaper, and the ceiling is just the right complement.

A brightly colored tree trunk lamp and yellow-and-gray twig-print window treatments work in whimsical harmony, while the gray piping on the glider keeps things streamlined and graphic.

Wallpaper: Minakani; ceiling paint: Super White and Sunny Afternoon, both by Benjamin Moore; crib: Regency, ducduc; lamp: Stray Dog Designs; drapery fabric: 21043-268 in Canary, Duralee; glider: Oilo; elephant rug: FilzFelt

Read more about this nursery

Original story by Becky Harris for Houzz

More from Houzz—

Go Beyond Powder Pink, Try Vibrant Coral Instead
Decorate With Decals
Brighten Baby's Nursery

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought my biggest accomplishment was, I probably would have rattled off a bunch of career-related successes and financial wins. Or even something about my worldly travels. I was full of money-driven, "success" driven goals. I had it all mapped out.

I was ticking off items on my list thinking the more I did the happier I would become.

But, my sweet child, in the short three and a half years I've been a mama, 1,352 days to be exact, I have realized something. Something you need to know.

No matter what, nothing I do in life will ever be as great as being your mom.


My accomplishments aren't measured in dollars, they are measured in hugs and kisses. And every time we say "I love you."

My accomplishments aren't measured by other people's praise, they are defined by the fact that I love you and will never stop.

My accomplishments are defined by the truth that I am with you no matter what. By the truth that I will be your biggest fan. Your protector. Your teacher. Your friend. Your confidant.

My accomplishments are defined by the truth that I will always be proud of you. That I will love you unconditionally, always and forever.

Yes, there are times when I achieve some pretty awesome things in life outside of being your mother. Moments I celebrate. Some are money-driven, some are career-driven, others are just things I've wanted to achieve and set out to do so. Am I proud of those things? Sure I am. I want to be an example to you that you can achieve anything you want to in this life. The world really is your oyster. Those moments though, never even come close to how proud I am to be your mom.

You see my child, no amount of money in the world can buy me the feeling of your little arms wrapped tight around me. The feeling of utter happiness I feel when I see you happy. No amount of money can buy the special bond we have.

My greatest accomplishment will always be you.

I won't lie, it isn't always easy. Sometimes, there are moments of exhaustion. Moments of frustration. Moments of tears. Moments where I desperately needed some 'me' time. But I will always choose you.

I know some people will not see motherhood as an accomplishment. That it is just something you do as part of life. But they don't see you like I do. Some people might wonder why I gave up a successful career to be home with you. But they don't know you like I do. They don't know that I was chosen to be your mama. That we were destined to be together. They don't know what an honor it is to be your mama.

So, my sweet child here is the truth.

You are my life's work.

You are my legacy in this world.

You, my child, are my greatest accomplishment and always will be.

[This article was previously published here.]


Aside from hygienic reasons, there's something about a bath that's soothing, inviting and relaxing. Even little ones can enjoy the benefits of self-care but they often need a little bit of entertainment while they're getting cleaned. Because they are so small and constantly putting anything in their mouths, it's important to use toys that are just as safe as they are entertaining.

We gathered a few best practices from the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe bath time with infants and kids and our favorite products to keep our littles having fun in the water:

  • Use a safe, sturdy tub. Baby bathtubs can be "bucket style" for sitting upright, slanted for support, inflatable, folding and spa-style.
  • Be aware of bumps, edges and slings. Consider avoiding tubs with slings and pay close attention to any bumps or edges that pose a risk.
  • Never leave a child alone in a bathtub. Children can drown in 1 or 2 inches of water so make sure you're not stepping away from the bathroom or leaving babies in the care of another child.
  • Check water temperature. Lower the temperature of your water heater to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.

Here are our favorite safe bath toys for infants and toddlers. And of course, always check (and double check) toy labels for age guidelines and hazard warnings:

Green Toys tide pool bath set

Green Toys tide pool bath set

This 7-piece bath set includes a starfish, scallop, abalone, snail, squid and jellyfish, as well as a seaweed-patterned storage bag that are packaged using recyclable materials and printed with environmentally responsible inks. Each piece is designed to pour water in a different way—scoop up water with the abalone and create a cascading waterfall with the holes along the edge, or fill the jellyfish and watch the water run down and out each of the legs.


B&H baby thermometer

B&H baby thermometer

Ever wonder if your baby is too hot or too cold during bath time? This high and low temperature alarm includes an accurate thermometer that flashes and beeps when water is at a non-optimal temperature. It also doubles as a bath toy that complies with the Consumer Product Safety Commission's toys safety standards, so you don't have to worry if the thermometer will produce chemical reactions in water. Genius!


Sophie la girafe so pure bath toy

Sophie la girafe so pure bath toy

Babies can have fun chewing away this Sophie bath toy because it's made of 100% natural rubber from the rubber tree's sap. The rubber ring is also easy to grip so little ones can have full confidence splashing and playing around. And don't worry, water can't get inside the toy so bacteria and mold won't form.


Skip Hop bath puzzle

Skip Hop bath puzzle

A puzzle and bath book in one? Yes, we'll take it! The pages float in water and stick to bath tiles so you're child will be entertained the entire time they're in the water. We love that the handy stroller ring keeps it all together when they're done.


Green Toys my first tugboat

Green Toys my first tugboat

This cool tugboat toy is safe for the earth as well as your child. It's made with 100% recycled plastic milk containers, which helps save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and is free from BPA, PVC and phthalates. It also features a wide spout which will help them scoop and pour water while exploring in the water.


Boon marco light-up bath toy

Boon marco light-up bath toy

If you have older kids and are less concerned with them putting toys in their mouth, your kid might enjoy Marco. Put Marco in water and watch him float while the color-changing light activates. It's BPA-free, too.


Skip Hop light up bath toy

Skip Hop light up bath toy

Featuring water-activated multicolor lights, this soft and squeezable bath toy is sure to make a splash with any child in your life. Choose from a dinosaur or unicorn with the phthalate-free materials.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This year's flu season has been making headlines, and there's a lot of (perfectly understandable) concern among parents about flu prevention and treatment.

The flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent your child from catching the flu. Other ways to prevent the flu from taking hold in your family include washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and staying in good overall health—getting plenty of sleep, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.

But what if, despite your best efforts, your child comes down with the flu? It can be hard to watch children suffer with flu symptoms such as chills, fever, aches, cough and congestion. That's why parents need a helpful, complete, scannable-at-2-am-in-panic-mode rundown of what to do for the flu, when to call the doctor and how to help little ones feel better.


Here's what to do when you think your child has the flu:

1. How do I know if my child has the flu?

Symptoms of influenza tend to come on suddenly, and include:

  • Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Cough
  • Hives
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose

So how do you know whether it's a cold or the flu? Symptoms of the common cold may be similar to the flu, but generally are milder and include cough, congestion, runny nose and sore throat. RSV, or respiratory cold virus, is a separate condition that can cause cold-like symptoms in older children, but may cause a more severe lung disease in infants called bronchiolitis. Your best bet is to call your pediatrician for a diagnosis.

2. What should I do if my child has the flu?

The best treatment for most flu infections is what doctors call "supportive care:" encouraging fluid intake, giving fever-reducing medication such as children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and getting plenty of rest.

Children who are at higher risk of complications from the flu or whose symptoms started within the past 48 hours may also receive treatment with an antiviral medication. Talk with your primary care provider about your options.

3. What medicines are safe for my child to take for the flu?

Fever-reducing medications, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can generally be given to children with the flu with your pediatrician's okay. Children should not receive aspirin. Be sure to follow dosing directions for your child's age and weight.

4. What are home remedies for flu symptoms in kids?

Flu treatment is all about comfort care for symptoms—rest, fluids, fever-reducer, repeat. Keep children with the flu home from school, preschool or daycare, keep them comfortable in bed (or snuggled up on the couch), and offer fluids—and plenty of sympathy.

5. Should I try to make my child with the flu eat, or drink?

Keeping kids hydrated while they're sick with the flu is important. Encourage small, frequent sips of liquids and soup to keep up with hydration. But don't worry about forcing your child to eat a hearty meal: As your child's infection resolves, their appetite will return.

6. When should I call the doctor for my child's flu?

Parents should always call their pediatrician if they're worried, of course, and if your child has a chronic medical condition that may be worsened by the flu, call your doctor right away. Here are symptoms that warrant an immediate call to your care provider:

  • Fast breathing
  • Signs of dehydration including decreased urine output
  • Fever and cough which improved at first but have worsened
  • Fever above 103 degrees, or any fever in a child under 3 months of age

Serious signs that warrant a trip to the emergency room or a 911 call, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Labored breathing
  • Blue discoloration of the lips or face
  • Difficulty in awakening
  • Severe muscle pains
  • Seizure activity

7. How long will my child's flu last?

Most kids with the flu run a fever for 3 or 4 days with aches and chills. But the worst symptoms tend to be over within 4 days or so, with gradual improvement in respiratory symptoms after the fever resolves.

8. When is it safe for my child to go back to school or daycare after having the flu?

Most daycares and schools have specific guidelines, such as 24 hours without a fever. Children with the flu are usually contagious for 5 to 7 days after the first onset of symptoms, and are at their most contagious when their fever peaks during the first 3 days. In general, children should stay home until they're fever-free for 24 hours and respiratory symptoms have improved.

Watching your child suffer with the flu can be hard, but knowing steps you can take to help your little one feel better fast can help. Hang in there—even flu season can't last forever.

Learn + Play

If you haven't bought an Instant Pot yet, what are you waiting for, mama? It's one of those holy grail items that, once used, you're not sure how you ever lived without it. In fact, it was one of the most-purchased items from Motherly mamas last year and was life-changing for one of our editors when she finally caved and tried it out for her family.

Whether you're a chef who loves to make gourmet meals or a mama who hates cooking and needs more time in the day, it's one of those products that works for everyone.

And, the Instant Pot is on super sale today on Amazon—just $56.99.

Instant Pot 6-quart

instant pot sale

Why does it have such a cult following? Because it cuts down on cooking time and you can cook just about anything in it. It acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer all in one. And the smart one-touch program makes cooking ribs, soups and desserts so much easier.

The 6-quart size cooks for up to six people, making it the perfect size for your family, and is 29% off today.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.